An intrigued amateur botanist’s take on the wild and naturalised cotoneasters found across the UK and specifically, in North East England.
Over the last few learns, I seem to have vanished down a rabbit hole when it comes to the UK’s naturalised cotoneasters. Attractive, increasingly numerous and incredibly diverse, I find them to be an extremely interesting group of plants.
These pages are intended as an outlet for this burgeoning interest and as a resource for anyone else interested in this group.
The UK is now home to over 100 alien cotoneaster species. Hailing predominantly from China and East Asia, these attractive shrubs are incredibly popular in gardens and with the aid of birds, regularly escape into the British countryside where their sheer diversity poses trouble for botanists. Beloved by gardeners, ignored by many botanists and in select cases, maligned by conservationists, they are an incredibly interesting group. Personally, I am quite fond of them; if only for their endless diversity.
Over the last few years, I seem to have developed a fascination with our alien cotoneasters. Attempting to find and identify those growing in North East England has been an intriguing process and suffice to say, I am now fully hooked. So much so that a large portion of my garden is now dedicated to growing cotoneasters for reference.
The significance of cotoneasters among our flora is only set to increase in future. For this reason, I wanted to dedicate space here to exploring these increasingly common plants. It should be remembered, however, that the content here is but the musings of an interested amateur – far more authoritative resources can be found elsewhere.
Latest botany blogs
Just for fun, take a quick look at 10 urban plants currently on the increase across Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Our urban habitats are dynamic ones and when it comes to wildlife, things…
Get started identifying the naturalised cotoneasters likely to be recorded in Northumberland and several others that may occur in the future.
Recently, I’ve been taking a closer look at wild and naturalised cotoneasters in Newcastle. Here’s what I’ve found so far, from an amateur’s perspective.
A fantastic resource
The content contained on these pages is but the musings of an enthusiastic amateur. For a more authoritative take on these intriguing plants, I would strongly recommend purchasing a copy of Cotoneasters: A Comprehensive Guide to shrubs for flowers, fruit, and foliage by Fryer and Hylmö (2009)
There is much still to learn about alien cotoneasters in the UK and recording is a key part of this. Largely to aid my own learning (writing things down is a great way to remember it seems) the below pages focus on specific cotoneaster species aiming to give a light-touch introduction and notes on identification that may pique the curiosity of botanists.
Focusing initially on those species I have observed across North East England, in time, I hope to also include other cotoneasters recorded elsewhere in the UK and perhaps some growing in our garden too.
Where necessary, references have been provided and I strongly recommend readers dig deeper and explore these too.
Cotoneaster salicifolius forms a few-stemmed, tree-like shrub to a maximum of 6-8 metres. Named for its willow-like leaves, it is native to South and Central China.
A botanical disclaimer
Certain cotoneasters pose a severe threat to native biodiversity in the UK and as such, several are listed under Schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act which makes it illegal to distribute or allow their spread into the wild.
These species include Hollyberry Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster bullatus), Entire-leaved cotoneaster (Cotoneaster integrifolius), Small-leaved Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster microphyllus), Himalayan Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster simonsii) and Wall Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster horizontalis).